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Petro and his “great national agreement” seduce the Colombian political class

Bogotá, June 29 (EFE) .- Under the banner of dialogue to build a “great national agreement” the president-elect of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has achieved in just ten days the support he did not get at the polls to have legislative majorities , even with winks from his antagonist, former president Álvaro Uribe. Petro, who will be the first president of the left in Colombia, and Uribe, as leader of the right-wing Democratic Center (CD) party, held an unprecedented meeting in Bogotá on Wednesday, unthinkable until a few days ago, to discuss the plans for the next government and above all the need to unite the country, torn apart not only by a prolonged internal armed conflict but also by political struggles. “I told him: President, allow me a dialogue channel with you. I will not bother you much, it will be to talk about these country issues,” Uribe said at a press conference he gave after his meeting with Petro at his invitation. The appointment caused enormous expectation in the country since both have always been at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to politics, since the elected president was a harsh critic of Uribe as president (2002-2010), mainly because of the handling of the armed conflict , and in the Senate they carried out harsh discussions. CORDIAL MEETING WITH URIBE Uribe, who was animated after the meeting, stressed that Petro, as far as he is concerned, “has been a contradictor for many years, he has been an adversary for many years,” but today they turned the page with a cordial meeting. “I told him many things in good faith, in a good tone and with all due respect. The truth is, I have always liked dialogue when it is sincere, with caution,” he added. The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, had a part of the two leaders alone, and then it was extended with the participation of advisers from both. From what Uribe told the press, it can be inferred that his party will make a constructive opposition to Petro in the next Congress, whose session will begin on July 20, two weeks before his inauguration. “What we can approve we will do without calculation, we will do it gladly. If there are issues in which our concept can serve for an agreement, fine. And in what we have to disagree, count on a reasonable opposition,” said Uribe. LEGISLATIVE MAJORITIES Petro, who on August 7 will take office as successor to President Iván Duque, Uribe’s political godson, had the problem of governing without majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives, but after his election he has shown a conciliatory attitude with his rivals and skill to negotiate legislative support. The Historical Pact, a coalition by which he was elected president, became the first force in the National Congress in the legislative elections of March 13, with 20 senators and 27 representatives to the Chamber, to which he added the 13 in both chambers of his ally, the Alianza Verde party. However, to have a majority, 55 senators are necessary, out of a total of 108, and 95 representatives to the Chamber, out of a total of 188, figures that Petro’s steamroller has not been slow to achieve due to the support received from the different parties. , to the point that the weakened opposition has practically been wiped off the map. The fears that Petro aroused in half of the electorate seem to have disappeared, at least among the political class, already aligned for the most part with the next government due to several factors: on the one hand, attracted by the “great national agreement”, on the another, trusting in the moderate speech of the elected president, and finally moved by bureaucratic interests. THE NEW FRIENDS One of the first to knock on the door was the centennial Liberal Party, which supported the right-wing Federico Gutiérrez in the first electoral round, remained silent in the second, and with Petro’s victory fell into his arms. Three days after the elections, the director of the Liberal Party, former president César Gaviria, reported that in a chat with Petro “we expressed our congratulations on his election and the intention of the Liberal Party, together with the Historical Pact and the Green Party, to form the congressional coalition. Immediately it was the turn of the Partido de la U, which welcomed “the proposal regarding the construction of a great national agreement” and announced “that it will not oppose the government of president-elect Gustavo Petro.” In the Conservative Party, Senator Carlos Andrés Trujillo met with Petro and dragged along 38 other elected congressmen who sent a letter to the next president declaring “the will to work on the construction of a great national agreement based on dialogue, concertation and respect”, which precipitated the resignation of the party’s president, Omar Yepes, which will take effect this week. Even Petro’s rival in the second round, independent populist Rodolfo Hernández, met with the president-elect on Tuesday, as did former vice president Germán Vargas Lleras, leader of Cambio Radical, and both showed agreement with the winner. The last tab was former President Uribe who today made it clear that for the sake of the “great national agreement”, his party will not be an obstacle in the legislative agenda of the next government. With the peace of mind of already having legislative support, Petro travels to Europe this Wednesday where he will spend several days on vacation before undertaking the hard task of governing Colombia. (c) EFE Agency

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